Food Safety Talk 166: Surprising lack of cannibalism questions

Don and Ben traveled to SUNY Geneseo for a live version of the podcast sponsored by the Center for Integrative Learning, and hosted by the amazing Beth McCoy. The episode title comes from an unrecorded after dark which may or may not have taken place in a bar in Geneseo.

Episode 166 is available on iTunes and here.

Show notes so you can follow along at home.

Party on: It’s Global Handwashing Day- October 15

Kids, kids. It’s global handwashing day.

Join CDC expert, Dr. Vincent Hill for a Facebook Live handwashing demonstration on October 15 at 11:00 AM EDT in observance of Global Handwashing Day. Global Handwashing Day is an occasion to support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, and promote handwashing with soap as an easy and affordable way to prevent disease in communities around the world.

The Facebook Live presentation will feature a handwashing contest between two volunteers to help viewers understand the importance of proper handwashing techniques. Tune in via CDC Facebook at www.facebook.com/cdcgov

I don’t do hashtags.

Do you really have to wash your hands every time you use the bathroom? The definitive answer, according to Schaffner

Following on all things Schaffner, a professor of food science at Rutgers, who has been studying hand washing for years and says the conventional wisdom shouldn’t be ignored.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re peeing or you’re pooping, you should wash your hands,” he told Business Insider.

Here’s why.

Germs can hang out in bathrooms for a long time

Each trip to the restroom is its own unique journey into germ land. So some occasions probably require more washing up than others.

“If you’ve got diarrhea all over your hands, it’s way more important that you wash your hands than if… you didn’t get any obvious poop on your fingers,” Schaffner said. “My gosh, if you’ve got poop on your hands and you have the time, certainly, get in there, lather up real good and do a real good job.”

Compared to feces, urine can be pretty clean when we’re not harboring any infections, though it’s not totally sterile.

“People who use urinals probably think they don’t need to wash their hands,” Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said to the New York Times. (In studies, women tend to be better about adhering to hand washing than men.)

But it’s best to wash your hands after every trip to the toilet because human feces carry pathogens like E. coli, Shigella, Streptococcus, hepatitis A and E, and more.

You can also easily catch norovirus by touching bathroom surfaces that have been contaminated with a sick person’s poo or vomit, then putting your hands into your mouth. The super-contagious illness is the most common food poisoning culprit, and causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.

wide variety of other microbes and bacteria can be found in bathrooms, too. Some strains of Staphylococcus, or staph, are “found on almost every hand,” as a team of hand washing researchers pointed out in a 2004 study. Public toilets can house many different drug-resistant strains of that bacteria.

“I think a good general rule of thumb is you should wash your hands any time you feel that they might be dirty,” Schaffner said. In other words, seize the opportunity when you’re near a sink.

He said he’s not “super paranoid” about making sure his own hands are always squeaky clean, but some of his favorite times of day to wash up are after walking the dog, working in the dirt, or handling raw meat.

Even a quick “splash ‘n dash,” as researchers like to call the practice of rinsing with water but no soap, can help fight off some bacteria that causes infections. But that shortcut is not advised if you might have raw meat or feces on your mitts, and a lather with soap and water is more effective at disinfecting hands than any wipe or sanitizer.

Here are Schaffner’s best tips for your next journey to the toilet

Follow this simple, three-step hand-washing plan to lower your chances of getting colds, self-inflicted food poisoning, and diarrhea.

First, don’t worry about the temperature of the water; Schaffner’s studies have confirmed that doesn’t make a difference. He suggests that you “adjust the water temperature so it’s a nice comfortable temperature, so you can do a good job.”

Second, give yourself enough time to “get some soap in there, lather it up real good, clean under your finger nails,” Schaffner said. Spending even five seconds washing your hands can help reduce the amount of bacteria on them, but 20 seconds is better. The Centers for Disease Control recommends humming the Happy Birthday song to yourself twice as a timer.

Third, dry off before you leave the room. This step is key because wet hands transfer more bacteria than dry ones.

“If your hands are still wet, you go to touch that door of the bathroom, having your wet hand might actually help transfer bacteria,” Schaffner said. He’ll even dry his palms on his pants if there’s no paper towel around.

Despite all the evidence demonstrating the health benefits of regular hand washing, Schaffner knows his advice can only go so far.

“I’m not in charge of you washing your hands, just because I’m a guy who did some science and did some research on hand-washing,” he said. “You do what you want.”

Well said.

We ain’t preachers, just provide evidence-based advice.

Got me a job at Kansas State University, got me dismissed.

This is a handwashing sign

The Moose Cree First Nation (formerly known as Moose Factory Band of Indians) is a Cree First Nation band government in northern Ontario, Canada. Their traditional territory is on the west side of James Bay. The nation has two reservesFactory Island 1 (the northern two-thirds of Moose Factory Island); and Moose Factory 68, a tract of land about 15 km upstream on the Moose River covering 168.82 square kilometres (65.18 sq mi).[

My friend, who has been canoeing down the Moose River for the last week found this in the restaurant at Moose Factory (you aren’t Canadian unless you know how to make love, or just have sex, in a canoe).

Food Safety Talk 162: FST Bolo Ties

The show opens with a bit of discussion about other podcasts, but quickly moves to the main subject at hand: a recent study on the increased isopropanol tolerance of certain bacteria found in hospitals.  The guys weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses of the study, including it’s relevance to food safety, with some help via listener feedback. The next topic is Chipotle’s recent problem with Clostridium perfringens in their beans. The guys introduce a new segment on Canadian foods, before moving to listener feedback on fermented foods, CSPI, and thermometer calibration, times and temperatures, food dehydrators, handwashing, and double gloving. The show ends with a discussion of a recent cookbook recall.

Episode 162 is available on iTunes and here.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Using observation to evaluate training: Canadian High School edition

A couple of old friends Shannon Majowicz and Ken Diplock and colleagues from Waterloo, (that’s in Canada) are doing good work looking at food safety stuff with high school students- evaluating training efficacy using observation. They published their work demonstrating some sustained food safety behaviors following a training program, this month in the Journal of Food Protection.

Kenneth J. Diplock, Joel A. Dubin, Scott T. Leatherdale, David Hammond, Andria Jones-Bitton, and Shannon E. Majowicz. 2018. Observation of High School Students’ Food Handling Behaviors: Do They Improve following a Food Safety Education Intervention?

Greenbank High School Birkdale Merseyside.

Journal of Food Protection: June 2018, Vol. 81, No. 6, pp. 917-925

Youth are a key audience for food safety education. They often engage in risky food handling behaviors, prepare food for others, and have limited experience and knowledge of safe food handling practices. Our goal was to investigate the effectiveness of an existing food handler training program for improving safe food handling behaviors among high school students in Ontario, Canada. However, because no schools agreed to provide control groups, we evaluated whether behaviors changed following delivery of the intervention program and whether changes were sustained over the school term. We measured 32 food safety behaviors, before the intervention and at 2-week and 3-month follow-up evaluations by in-person observations of students (n = 119) enrolled in grade 10 and 12 Food and Nutrition classes (n = 8) and who individually prepared recipes. We examined within-student changes in behaviors across the three time points, using mixed effects regression models to model trends in the total food handling score (of a possible 32 behaviors) and subscores for “clean” (17 behaviors), “separate” (14 behaviors), and “cook” (1 behavior), adjusting for student characteristics. At baseline, students (n = 108) averaged 49.1% (15.7 of 32 behaviors; standard deviation = 5.8) correct food handling behaviors, and only 5.5% (6) of the 108 students used a food thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken (the “cook” behavior). All four behavior score types increased significantly ∼2 weeks postintervention and remained unchanged ∼3 months later. Student characteristics (e.g., having taken a prior food handling course) were not significant predictors of the total number of correctly performed food handling behaviors or of the “clean” or “separate” behaviors, and frequency of cooking and self-described cooking ability were the only characteristics significantly associated with food thermometer use (i.e., “cook”). Despite the significant increase in correct behaviors, students continued to use risky practices postintervention, suggesting that the risk of foodborne disease remained.

Popular doesn’t mean safe

There’s lots of popular food places. They might even make great food. Doesn’t mean that they know how to do food safety.

According to Wales Online, a popular chippy (one of my favorite UK terms) received a zero on their hygiene rating. Zero isn’t good. Unless the scale is -1 to zero. But it isn’t in Wales. Environmental health folks rate businesses on a scale from zero-5. 

The Fryery, in Rumney , was ranked at number nine on hungryhouse’s list after the online food ordering platform unveiled the list as part of its annual Most Loved Takeaway awards in April. 

But an inspection on November 20 handed the shop a zero rating meaning “urgent improvement” is necessary.

The Cardiff takeaway, which is located in Newport Road, is run by Kash Amin.

Mr Amin, who started working at his family’s takeaway at the age of 11 in 1988, has continued working in and running takeaways ever since – including Victor’s in Newport . 

Mr Amin said he was unhappy with the process of food hygiene rating inspections and said he had now paid £150 to appeal the decision.

Here’s the rating, doesn’t say much about the specifics of what was wrong. I wish more jurisdictions, including Wales, posted the entire inspection. The summary leaves a lot to assumptions.

Blame the kids: 20 sick at Hong Kong kindergarten

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) at a kindergarten in Tseung Kwan O, and hence reminded the public and management of institutions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene against AGE.
The outbreak involves 20 students, comprising 13 boys and seven girls aged 2 to 5, as well as two female staff members, who have developed vomiting, diarrhea and fever since November 4. Among them, seven students and one staff member sought medical attention, while one was discharged upon hospitalisation. All affected persons have been in a stable condition.

Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the staff of the school concerning proper and thorough disinfection, the disposal of vomit, and personal and environmental hygiene.